Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Vaginal warts


Warts or not
Warts or not  
I went to my OB because my vagina has been itching for a few days already. I initially thought it might be a yeast infection again or something. After she conducted a pap smear and internal exam, she said she's worried that I may have genital warts because of some towel-like surface on my labia. She told me that she's not sure because some women have this kind of texture on that surface while some don't. When she asked me if it has been there all along, i told her that i didnt know because i dont really look at that part. She told me to observe that part if the wart-looking things would multiply or clump together. If it does, she said i would have to undergo cauterization. I've had some warts cauterized from my foot at it was darn painful... How much more from down there?! :((

Now, she said that warts is an STD. I've only had one partner my entire life (im 22) and we were both virgins before we Started going out. He swore that he never touched any other woman other than me and i trust he did... Is there any other way of getting genital warts?

I uploaded a picture of it... My OB isnt really sure and is afraid of categorically saying that it is genital warts

Hello Panda,
They do NOT look like warts, but like "squamous papillomatosis," sort of a similar feature to pearly penile papules in men. There is some evidence that HPV (human papilloma virus) may mediate these little bumps, but to know for sure, a biopsy of the affected skin would have to be taken.  Not necessarily a pleasant option, because there are nerve endings in the vulva. I don't really think they are warts, but your doctor's suggestion is good:  wait a month or two, and recheck, without being obsessive and checking daily!  HPV is fairly ubiquitous, meaning both you and your partner may have the virus from long ago... or not! There is some evidence that maternal spread to you as an new born passing through the birth canal, may have implanted the virus, which has been dormant til now. But that is UNLIKELY, even though there is some evidence that such an infection is possible.

Good luck!

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Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

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